Graduate Studies FAQ

TA/CA

MASc Seminar vs MASc Defense

Degree Completion


General

How many courses can part-time and full-time students take each term?

Part-time students normally permitted to take one 0.5 weight course per term. Full-time students are normally permitted to take up to three 0.5 weight courses per term.

I’m a new MASc or PhD student. How do I receive my office assignment?

In the first week of term, the Administrative Coordinator will email you to come pick up a Welcome Package from their office. This Welcome Package contains information on the mandatory safety training that must be completed before your office can be assigned. Once your safety training is complete, you are able to submit a space request form to the Department Assistant for office assignment.

Offices are only assigned to full-time students and cannot be assigned until all mandatory safety training is complete.

Do MEng students get offices?

Only full-time MASc and PhD students receive offices. There is a Graduate Student Lab in E3-1101 available only to course-work graduate students that is owned and operated by the Faculty of Engineering. If you are a MEng student that wishes to use the lab, please email the Administrative Coordinator for the access code.

Can I take courses outside of the Faculty of Engineering?

If you wish to take a course outside of the Faculty of Engineering for credit, you must submit the Course Approval Form to the Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies prior to enrolment. A course syllabus and detailed marking scheme must be attached with the course approval form. The course approval form does not need to be submitted for courses being audited or taken as extra to your degree.


TA/CA

What steps do I have to take to become a TA/CA?

To be eligible for a teaching or course assistantship, graduate students must:

It is important to note that eligible graduate students are not guaranteed to be assigned an assistantship in any term.  Using a number of factors, assistantships are assigned by the Undergraduate Associate Chair to provide proven high-quality teaching support to the undergraduate students.  This means that some graduate students may receive fewer or more positions than others over the course of their graduate studies. 

I want to enroll in the ExpecTAtions workshop. When is the next offering?

ExpecTAtions workshops are run twice a year by the Engineering Graduate Studies Office. When a new offering is announced the Administrative Coordinator will send an email to the MASc and PhD students informing them of the dates, times, and how to register.

I’ve completed the mandatory training to become a TA. How do I apply?

Each term the Associate Chair, Undergraduate Studies will send out an email with a link to apply to available TA/CA positions.


MASc Seminar vs MASc Defense

How do I know if I am doing the MASc Seminar or the MASc Defense?

Those who were admitted prior to Spring 2017 do the MASc seminar. Those who were admitted Spring 2017 and onwards do the MASc defense.

What is the difference between the MASc seminar and the MASc defense?

 

MASc Seminar (old)

MASc Defense (new)

Timing

Mutually agreed upon time between the student and supervisor; normally takes place before or during the display period the thesis

Mutually agreed upon time between the student and committee members; normally takes place at the end of the display period of the thesis

How to schedule

Student emails Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies with date/time of seminar and title of thesis

Student submits MASc Defense form concurrently with the MASc Thesis Submission form to Administrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies

Attendance

Supervisor(s) only

Supervisor(s) and committee members

Presentation length

20 minutes + QA period from supervisor(s)

20 minutes + QA period from committee

Decision

Pass/Fail basis

Committee members deliberate and assign a ranking on a four-point scale (1. Accepted, 2. Accepted conditionally, 3. Decision deferred, 4. Rejected) and immediately notify the student of the outcome

What is the difference between thesis readers and defense examiners?

The MASc thesis readers and MASc defense examiners are the same people, but different language is often used used depending on the form being submitted.

Please see the comparison chart below for more information.

 

MASc Thesis Submission Form

MASc Defense Form

Supervisor(s)

At least one tenured or tenure track faculty member of the student's home department who will normally be the student's supervisor(s)

Supervisor (chair of the examination committee if the first examiner is not present)

Faculty member chosen by the supervisor

At least one additional examiner whose expertise can support the evaluation of the Master's thesis

Note: may also be referred to as the “second reader”

First examiner: chair of examination committee, faculty member from the department in the research area of the thesis

Faculty member chosen by the department

An additional tenured or tenure track faculty member from the University of Waterloo

Note: may also be referred to as the “third reader”

Second examiner: faculty member outside the primary research area of the thesis

When does the MASc seminar take place?

The MASc seminar takes place at a mutually agreed upon time between the student and supervisor that normally falls before or during the display period of the thesis.

Is there any paperwork for the MASc seminar?

There is no formal paperwork for the MASc seminar. To book your seminar, please email the Administrative Coordinator the date, time, and title of your MASc seminar.

When does the MASc defense take place?

The MASc defense takes place at a mutually agreed upon time between the student and supervisor that normally falls at the end of the display period of the thesis.

The MASc defense takes place at the end of the display period so that the MASc committee has had time to read and review the thesis. Pending a category 1 response at the MASc defense, the MASc committee can sign the Department Approval of MASc Defense form immediately following the defense. It is the responsibility of the student to obtain signatures from any committee member not at the defense.

Is there any paperwork for the MASc Defense?

Yes, the MASc defense is booked when you submit the MASc Defense form. This form is submitted concurrently with the MASc Thesis Submission form at least 3 weeks in advance of your proposed MASc Defense date.


Degree Completion

Is there a place where the steps to becoming degree complete are outlined?

For research-based programs, see the Steps to Degree Completion for PhD and Steps to Degree Completion for MASc on the Faculty of Engineering website.

For course based programs, review your degree requirements to ensure all courses and milestones have been completed. At least one month before the end of your final term you will need to apply for graduation through Quest.

What steps do I need to complete to make sure I am degree complete by Spring Convocation/Fall Convocation/100% tuition refund/50% tuition refund?

Please see the Degree Completion Deadlines webpage. This is updated each term by the Engineering Graduate Studies Office.

The Degree Completion Deadlines and Steps to Degree Completion webpages don’t give dates for the MAsc Seminar and MASc Defense. Why?

The MASc Seminar and MASc Defenses are department level requirements which is why they are not outlined on the Faculty of Engineering website. The MASc Seminar or MASc Defense should be completed by the time you are submitting your Department Approval of MASc Thesis form to the Administrative Coordinator.

I’m almost ready to submit my MASc thesis – what now?

  1. At least one month before you intend to degree complete you will need to apply for graduation through Quest. At this time please reach out to the Administrative Coordinator to determine the third reader for your thesis and confirm that all milestones are showing as complete on your transcript.
    • The third reader of your thesis serves as the second examiner at the MASc defense
  2. Once a third reader has been found, submit the MASc Thesis Submission form to the Administrative Coordinator for your MASc thesis committee approval.
    • If you were admitted Spring 2017 and onward, you will also need to submit your MASc Defense form to the Administrative Coordinator concurrently with the MASc Thesis Submission form. It is your responsibility to determine a date and time for your MASc defense with your committee members. This date should be indicated on the MASc Defense form and take place at the end of your three week display period set by the Engineering Graduate Studies Office.
    • If you were admitted prior to Spring 2017, please book your MASc seminar by sending an email to the Administrative Coordinator with the date and time you would like to give the MASc seminar and the title of your MASc thesis. It is your responsibility to determine a date and time for the MASc seminar with your supervisor.
  3. After the Administrative Coordinator has reviewed and approved your MASc Thesis Submission Form, you will need to give a copy of your thesis to each of your readers, and they must sign your MASc Thesis Submission Form to confirm they have received it.
    • Your readers can have a soft copy of your thesis if they prefer this to a hard copy.
    • An e-mail from your readers confirming they have received your thesis is an accepted substitute for their signature.
  4. After your readers all have their copy of the thesis and have signed the MASc Thesis Submission Form, a hard copy of the thesis and the MASc Thesis Submission Form must be taken to the Engineering Graduate Studies Office (EGSO), where the thesis will be on display for three weeks.
    • It is during this three-week display period that your readers will review your thesis and prepare their feedback.
  5. Once your thesis is on display, the EGSO will send you a Department Approval of MASc Thesis Form (usually within three days).

My display period at the Engineering Graduate Studies Office is finished, what are the next steps?

  1. After reading your thesis, your readers will provide you with feedback and revisions. Once any revisions requested have been completed to their satisfaction, take your Department Approval of MASc Thesis Form to each of your readers for them to sign, indicating that they have given you their feedback and the final copy of your thesis is ready for upload to UWSpace.
    • Note: If you are doing the MASc defense, the Department Approval of MASc Thesis Form may also be signed off at the end defense pending an accepted outcome. It is your responsibility to obtain signatures from any committee members not present at the Defense.
    • An e-mail from your readers confirming they have approved the final version of your thesis is an accepted substitute for their signature.
    • You do not need to collect the display copy of your thesis from the Engineering Graduate Office. It will be sent back to your home Department
  2. After all of your revisions and changes have been made, your supervisor(s) needs to sign off on your final thesis at the bottom of the form.
  3. Once your supervisor(s) have signed off on your revisions, you return the Department Approval of MASc Thesis Form to the Administrative Coordinator, and they will process it and send it to the Engineering Graduate Studies Office.
  4. When the completed Department Approval of MASc Thesis Form is received by the Engineering Graduate Studies Office, they will issue a Faculty Acceptance Notice for your thesis (usually within three days) which will be sent to your UW e-mail.
    • You cannot upload to UWSpace until you have obtained this e-mail.
  5. Once you have received the Thesis Acceptance Notice from the Engineering Graduate Studies Office, you can upload your final thesis to UWSpace (not before).
    • If you have submitted a Request to Restrict Circulation of Thesis Form, you will have to select the thesis restriction pull down option when you are uploading to UWSpace.
  6. UWSpace may require you to make revisions to the formatting of your thesis, so check your UW e-mail regularly after you submit for any feedback they might send.
    • Formatting guidelines for theses can be found on the GSPA website
  7. When your thesis has been accepted by UWSpace, you will be notified by e-mail.

In order to receive a MASc degree you must complete all of your program's degree requirements. For a complete list of your program's degree requirements you should consult the Graduate Academic Calendar for the term in which you were admitted.

Note: Collaborative programs (i.e. Nano, Water, and Quantum) have different degree requirements than the regular MASc program.

If you have any questions regarding the degree completion process, you should contact the Administrative Coordinator.


Have a question not listed on this webpage? Email the Adminstrative Coordinator, Graduate Studies at civegrad@uwaterloo.ca for more information.